66 years old. Graduated from Harvard College (magna cum laude, 1961), then attended Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar (A.B. and M.A., 1963) before earning his law degree from Harvard Law School (1966). Episcopalian. Lifelong bachelor.
1966-1968: Associate counsel at Orr & Reno in Concord, New Hampshire.
1968-1971: Assistant Attorney General (Criminal Division) for the State of New Hampshire.
1971-1976: Deputy Attorney General for the State of New Hampshire.
1976-1978: Attorney General for the State of New Hampshire.
1978-1983: Associate Justice of the New Hampshire Superior Court.
1983-1990: Associate Justice of the New Hampshire Supreme Court.
1990: Associate Justice of the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals.
Nomination and Approval
In July 1990, President George Bush nominated Souter to replace the retiring Associate Justice William J. Brennan. Although the press referred to him as a "stealth justice" because of his relative silence on hot-button issues, he breezed through the Senate confirmation process (90-9).
Zelman v. Simmons-Harris (2002): Wrote a fierce dissent arguing that school voucher programs violate the First Amendment's establishment clause.
MGM Studios, Inc. v. Grokster (2005): Wrote a unanimous 9-0 ruling stating that peer-to-peer Internet file databases that profit from distribution of copyrighted materials can be sued for copyright infringement.
Kelo v. City of New London (2005): Joined a 5-4 majority ruling which stated that cities may condemn privately-owned real estate as part of a redevelopment plan under eminent domain, with "just compensation" given under the Fifth Amendment. Although Justice Stevens wrote the unpopular ruling, Souter was targeted in a special way by officials in his hometown of Weare, New Hampshire, who attempted to claim his family home under eminent domain and turn it into a "Lost Liberty Hotel." The proposal, which in any case clearly exceeded the boundaries set under Kelo and never would have passed constitutional muster, was defeated by a 3-to-1 margin in a March 2006 ballot initiative.